RECIPES

STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH SPINACH AND PESTO SAUCE

A delicious, easy, make-ahead recipe that looks great and tastes wonderful, and is low in fat, which is an added bonus.

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Serves 4 – 6

4 – 6 chicken breasts, skinned and boned

Stuffing:

– ½ red pepper, finely chopped
– 1 clove garlic, crushed
– 1 small red onion, finely chopped
– 200 g cottage cheese
– 1 ml chilli flakes
– Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Sauce:

– 1 x 200 g bag spinach, washed
– 30 ml green pesto sauce
– 4 x spring onions, finely chopped
– Garnish: chopped pistachio nuts or toasted
– pine nuts and micro-herbs

Method:

1. Place red pepper, garlic and red onion in a small casserole dish; cover, and microwave on 100% power for 3 minutes until softened; allow to cool.
2. Make the sauce: Steam the spinach in the microwave or on the hob; drain very well. Place spinach and pesto into a suitable bowl or jug and, using a plunge blender, process until fairly smooth. Add in spring onions. Allow to cool.
3. Preheat oven to 180°C/160ºC fan/Gas mark 4.
4. Mix together cooled red pepper mixture with cottage cheese, chilli flakes, and salt and pepper.
5. Using a sharp knife, cut pockets horizontally in the middle of the chicken breasts; do not slice all the way through. Spoon mixture into the cavities, and spread it evenly.
6. Cut 4 – 6 pieces of aluminum foil or baking paper large enough to fully cover each chicken breast. Brush the dull side of foil or paper with oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
7. Place a little of cooled spinach sauce on the base of foil or paper, top with stuffed chicken breast and cover with more sauce. Repeat with each chicken breast. Wrap each parcel securely. At this stage, the parcels may be refrigerated for a few hours, or overnight.
8. Oven: Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until chicken is cooked through and tender.
9. Combination microwave/Solar Dom: Use baking paper for wrapping chicken breasts; cook at 200°C + 50% microwave power for 20 – 25 minutes, until cooked through.
10. Microwave: Use baking paper for wrapping chicken breasts, cook on 70% power for 12 – 14 minutes until cooked through.
11. Allow to rest before unwrapping. Serve with steamed new potatoes and mint and butternut wedges.